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Matt_no_7

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  1. There was more than one breathing a little bit heavily as the coaching staff flooded onto the pitch. Once more there were words of encouragement and urges not to give up. Soon though the referee had ordered the coaching staff off the pitch in order to start the first half of extra time, the crowd still in full voice. England got things underway and picked up where they left off, as the dominant side but, just as England really began to settle the wind was taken out of their sales. A Johnson shot was cleared via Pepe's diving header to Quaresma, a cheeky flick taking the ball away from Terry as the both turned, acres of space between Terry and Hart as the former gave chase. Just as Quaresma was getting away from him Terry lunged, the ball gone in a instant leaving just leg on leg contact, the Portugese forward hit the ground and the referee blew his whistle as the England captain stood with his hands raised, pleading for mercy. The whole nation held their heads in their hands as the referee without flinching strolled over and brought out a second yellow followed by a red. The majority of the England player's went to surround the referee, Matt guiding Terry off the field as he passed the armband to his defensive partner Ferdinand with the England supporters booing loudly. With no more subs left it meant Capello would have to mastermind a plan to save their championship, Huddlestone for the time being slotting in at centre half. The boo's aimed at the referee soon turned into a rallying chant of 'Come on England' as the game got restarted and in the minutes after the sending off very little seemed to change, Johnson got free down the right before cutting it back for Baines to have a go, Patricio going airbourne but the shot was off target. The England pressure continued and the sides looked a complete opposite, Portugal resembling the team that was down to ten men more than England. With the first half of extra time nearly at an end England went close to opening the scoring via a Baines corner from the right, the new Tottenham full back aiming to the near post when Matt dropped off his marker, sprang into the air and worked his neck to it's fullest, nailing a powerful header goalwards which Patricio managed to just tip away as it looked destined to sneak over him. The break came soon after as, after one more quick intake of fluids, the teams quickly swapped sides before the game was once again up and running. The slick passing and domination of both the ground and air continued, Portugal looking helpless at times with England streaking forward looking to break the deadlock with Cole forcing Patricio to palm away an effort with a cheeky toe poke, the Portugal keeper looking less than convincing in the way he dealt with the shot. The peppering and probing went one, Baines with another corner to the near post which saw Rooney break free to connect while unmarked but the effort was mistimed, the ball blazing over the bar as another guilt edged chance went begging. The final moments began to tick down as penalties began to loom larger and larger with each chance that went unfinished. With 120 minutes on the clock it all came close to an ending which would haunt anyone's dreams for the rest of their days. Danny getting the ball in the middle before threading the needle with a through ball which had Ferdinand scrambling back, he lunged and won the ball but it caught Hart flat footed as he sprang off his line. The ball trickling towards the goal as Hart turned and burst into a sprint. Players and fan's alike held their breath as the Man City stopper leapt to keep it out and only just managing to grasp the ball inches from the line as millions at home finally exhaled along with a fair few on the pitch. With one last hoof up the field the whistle went and now, the fate of each side's tournament would go down to yet another penalty shoot out....
  2. The day of the game had come, preperations being made as both sides made their way to Donetsk and the Donbas-Arena. It was another highly impressive stadium and home to Shakhtar Donetsk, a team that had also impressed many with their progression in recent years. The morning though came with bad news for both England and Carroll as Uefa increased the ban to three games due to what was viewed as violent conduct. The decision was upsetting for Carroll but not really unexpected, many media outlets predicting that such a ban would be forth coming though Capello was keen now for England to focus fully on those that could play. Despite England's lofty position in the world rankings they were penned as the underdogs for the game by the bookies. As per usual the team was kept as a secret until the squad made it to the changing rooms, Capello handing over the team sheet to Psycho to read out, "Ok lad's settle down.... Right the starting line up is... Joey in goal, Glen, John, Rio and Ash across the back. Stevie your right of midfield, Gareth and Frankie are in the middle and Youngy your going left..... Up top it's Wayne and Matt ok?" They all nodded before all the post match preperations began, the players getting changed in time for the warm up. On the surface Matt was cool and calm but on the inside, even though he was glad to be starting, the nerves were starting to jangle a little bit as he saw the stadium slowly filling to capacity. "You got this... You got this!" He thought to himself. 2012 European Championship Semi Final 28/06/2012 Portugal vs England Formation: 4-4-2 GK: Joe Hart RB: Glen Johnson LB: Ashley Cole CB: John Terry © CB: Rio Ferdinand CM: Gareth Barry CM: Frank Lampard RM: Steven Gerrard LM: Ashley Young ST: Wayne Rooney ST: Matt Warner SUBS: GK: Robert Green CB: Chris Smalling LB: Leighton Baines RM: Aaron Lennon MC: James Milner CB: Phil Jagielka RB: Micah Richards LM: Stuart Downing CM: Tom Huddlestone CM: Owen Hargreaves GK: Fraser Forster The early exchanges were understandably tense, chances few and far between as both sides sought to settle in and consolodate early on. The first major chance took nearly 15 minutes to come as Lampard laid a short free kick to Young, he came in from the left and played a neat ball through to Gerrard on the right but his shot flashed wide of goal with the Portugese defence stood helplessly watching. The game continued on in the same fashion with neither side capturing the imagination, they almost seemed to cancel each other out but the first real incident of note came with just 25 minutes gone. Ronaldo picked up the ball and drove in at goal, Johnson, already booked for a foul on him earlier challenge, slid in as they entered the area. Ronaldo went down and sat up pleading for a penalty to the annoyance of the England players as the referee blew his whistle, the hearts of every England fan stopping for a moment. The referee's hand reached into his pocket as he trotted over, a yellow card coming up from his black shorts.... For Ronaldo. The English heartbeat's began again. The booking was handed to him for simulation, despite protests from many a Portugese fan and player with the incident showing how much you could lose for trying to cheat as he would now miss the final through suspension. The game was starting to burst into life, Young playing a ball up the left for Matt who came back inside and played Rooney through on goal though Patricio was equal to it, palming it away for a corner. The kick was taken by Young to the near post where Matt met it with a diving header which hit the post before Patricio gathered it. The half in all fairness had been a dull one but it was England who were looking the more likely to score. Portugal had efforts, a distance shot from Ronaldo went straight at Hart, the England stopper making light work of it but at the other end England almost took the lead on the brink of half time. Matt and Gerrard linked up well down the right hand side before Matt cut the ball back to Gerrard, he shaped to cross before laying up Lampard to hit one low through the crowd, once more the base of the post coming to the rescue of Portugal. The interval was one of encouragement from the England coaching staff but they also warned against getting complacent, Pearce in particular warning them of getting too far ahead of themselves. "We have been the better side but we have to start taking our chances. Defence keep doing what your doing, your getting around them and they can't handle it. Midfield exactly the same with you, they're central unit is split up and you've been picking them apart... Keep it going! Matty and Wayne, it's coming.... Just keep going and it WILL come!" The confidence was high as they stepped out onto the field again, though it hadn't been an epic first half by any means, England had been the better side. There was just one change as Huddlestone came on for Young, the Man Utd winger clearly disappointed as he took a seat on the bench. The second half started much quicker and it was all one way traffic in favour of England, Gerrard and Rooney both had chances but the next best one fell the way of Matt as he turned and ran with a ball that came from Huddlestone, with the Portugal defence closing in on him he struck it towards goal. Patricio was well beaten as the ball hammered off the crossbar before being cleared. There was more woe for those who failed to stay out of the referee's book as both Huddelstone and Rooney ruled themselves out of the final thanks to silly challenges. England continued to sweep the ball around with confidence as the clock went past the hour mark though at times it felt as if they were trying to walk it in, Matt and Rooney having words with both full backs for their reluctance to just cross the ball in. At the other end Ronaldo's final action of the game before being replaced was the first bit of Portugal pressure for a while, his effort though lacked the killer touch which he'd shown earlier in the competition. With the change Portugal began to find their footing in the game a little with 15 minutes left, Quaresma's low cross into the 6 yard box causing havoc for Hart and his defence before eventually Huddlestone launched it clear. The nerves were beginning to show as Coentrao got away from both Gerrard and Johnson to cross into the box, Hart flapping at the ball and sending it into the 18 yard box, Cole thankfully the first one to get to it. The game entered the last few minutes, the tence feeling around the stadium growing more and more with each minute that passed. The nerves were done no favours when Barry's pass inside to Huddlestone was intercepted and played through to Quaresma with Hart out of position, the former Inter winger getting clear of Terry and shooting. The net moved but luckily for Barry it was the outer netting which the ball struck, the clearest indication yet that there were two sides still left in this game. With that near miss and with extra time lurking both Barry and Lampard made way for Baines and also Milner, making his first apperence of the competiton due to injury at the end of the season with Man City. Then, the chance came. The clock clicked over to 90 minutes, the board showing 3 added minutes as Rooney cut in from the left after getting the ball from Baines, his looping cross field ball found Gerrard, the defender drawn to him leaving Matt clear as the ball came through for him and into the 18 yard box. Patricio came out of his box, Matt lined up the shot and hit it.... But the ball dragged agonisingly wide leaving Matt cupping his face in shock and annoyance before giving Gerrard the thumbs up for the pass. It proved to be the last chance of normal time, 93 minutes failing to seperate them as they used the brief break to take on fluids and loosen up their legs....
  3. Well for a line that bad, you may get stripped of your title and forced to write stories using Premier Manager!
  4. And i expected better from a former FMSer of the year.... Hang your head in shame sir!
  5. Ah well, all is well and another couple of wins should see me through top of the group then!
  6. Two years ago to the day. A nation sat in anticipation of the day England were due to turn things around, to cast away memories of what had been a hugely poor group stage. The hopes and dreams of both fans and players alike sat in the hands of the eleven chosen. The day in question was June 27th 2010, England vs Germany, last 16 of the World Cup. A day which many would be remembered for many reasons but the big one was the defeat by 4-1 scoreline, some say had Lampard's goal stood it would have been a different outcome but many say, players included, that England just weren't good enough. Since that point, England had been unbeaten while brushing aside the likes of Spain, Holland and Italy on their way to winning sixteen of their last nineteen games. Game number twenty would see them face Portugal but before that the first of the semi finals would see Germany vs France. Germany had been touted a potential 2014 World Cup winners with their stylish young side winning many admirers during and since the World Cup in South Africa. Matt got comfy in his room as he sat watching, waiting to see who England may have to face in the final should they be successful. Both sides started well with even possession but it was Germany who took the lead, Mario Gomez on the score sheet for the fourth time in the competition. Despite some good play from France the sides went in with the score at 1-0. In the second half it was a far different French side as they began to dominate possession, the likes of Ribery and Benzema beginning to shine. Soon the equaliser came, Nasri leveling the scores on the hour mark. The game continued in the same pattern but Germany managed to hold on, taking the game to extra time but eventually the unrelenting pressure told and France snatched the lead for the first time. Ribery netting in the 101st minute of the game to take them to within touching distance of another International final. Even though he wasn't playing Matt still feel the slight twinge of nerves as the final minutes ticked down and soon enough the referee blew his whistle to confirm one half of the final due to take place on the Sunday. Rising to his feet he took one last look at the screen before turning the TV off, climbing into bed a short time after. Unlike many back home, Matt soon found himself drifting into a deep sleep, thoughts of Portugal slowly running through his mind...
  7. Though he'd never wish it on anyone, least not someone so young who had in truth deserved his place in the starting line up, Matt couldn't help but feel that his chance to finally make his mark on the tournament could be within his grasp. Uefa made it clear very quickly that the day of the semi final would be when they would make their final choice over Carroll's red card and wheather it would carry more than the usual one match ban. Back in Leeds there were announcements made with the fixture list for the Premiership was released, Leeds being handed an extremely tough start which would see them take on Man City, Fulham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Tottenham in their first five games. There was also the unveiling of another Leeds signing as they captured Alejandro Faurlin for a reported £5m from QPR. The final quarter final in the European Championship's saw Holland meet France in what was another close encounter but with a potential semi final against Germany up for grabs it was the French who took their chances to record a 2-1 win with all the goals coming from the French side. Cabaye and Evra sent France 2-0 up before a Lloris own goal set up a nervy final 20 minutes. The dying seconds of the game saw Van Der Wiel recieve a 2nd yellow to put an end to any hope of pushing the game into extra time. It meant that the semi finals were now decided and four teams stood just two wins away from clinching the title. Of the teams though England stood as the odd one out as France, Portugal and Germany had contested each of the last three European Championship finals. 2012 European Championship Quarter Final Results Q1: Belgium 1-4 Germany Q2: Portugal 5-3 Croatia Q3: England 3-2 Spain Q4: Holland 1-2 France 2012 European Championship Semi Final Germany vs France Portugal vs England Though the hopes of the nation were sky high there was still plenty of work to be done against a Portugal side that had become somewhat of a bogey team for England due to losses in three out of the last six international competitions and memories of Figo and co destroying a 2-0 lead, Ronaldo's wink and the pain of two shoot out exits. Now though it was a chance for both Matt and England to set the record straight.
  8. Matt wandered out and once more took his seat next to Lennon, a former team mate from his first stint at Leeds. The game though changed very little in the way it was played, the pinpoint passing and tricky to mark movement continued with England holding up well against what some had dared to call the best techical footballing side ever seen. England did manage to create the odd chance, Rooney being the main threat but Casillas only touched the ball when he had to restart to game. Soon though, as they had done against Holland, they managed to turn Spain's strength against them. Cole made a brilliant tackle on Pedro with Young collecting and feeding the ball to Carroll who turned and moved the ball forward before picking out Young once again running free and clear down the left wing, the Man Utd winger drove in towards the byline, tricked his way past the challenge of Puyol before crossing. Rooney slid in, Casillas saved and the scramble ensued with Carroll eventually driving the ball in from barely a yard out to spark wild celebrations from the bench as the deadlock was finally broken. Following the restart it became quickly clear that Spain would not be rolling over just yet as they continued to control posession, a good passing move resulting in Xavi finding a lovely through ball for Villa but the Barcelona forward could only hit his shot into the waiting arms of Hart. It was only a repreave as once more England showed themselves to be most vulnerable after scoring. Llorente picked up the ball on the half way line after a pass from Xavi before turning and threading a hugely precise ball through for Torres who had streaked away from Johnson. Hart came from his line to close him down, the Chelea forward ducking left before laying it into Villa who this time made no mistake in slotting past an out of position Joe Hart to level the scores once more on the hour mark. Air horns and even to odd vuvuzela, which had been the cause of much annoyance at the World Cup twp years before, sounded out around the crowd. Both set's of fan's still in full voice as the half wore on, Spain still very much in control as the England back line struggled to contain Torres, Villa and Pedro, the latter being given a golden chance when Torres put him through one on one with Hart but his effort was low and straight, the Man City stopper getting down well to save it. In an attempt to give the midfield a more defensive look the first change of the game came with Lampard heading off the field to be replaced by Barry. As time wore on the game began to even out though now niether could be deemed guilty of creating anything clear cut, most efforts being tame and easy for the keepers to handle or wild and crowd bound. Further changes came as once more as Richards replaced Young while Gerrard made way for Baines at the game entered the final 10 minutes with the first action of those minutes coming from England. Baines knocked in a free kick from the right to find Terry free and clear with only the finger tips of Casillas denying him what would have been a possible winning goal. With that chance the complextion of the game changed with England forcing Spain to chase the ball around as the possession percentage began to swing in England's favour. The final action of the half saw England once more go within inches of the semi final as more slow build up saw Johnson cross, the effort deflecting right into the path of Huddlestone with his curling effort just narrowly missing the top corner. The final whistle blew signalling a second bout of extra time in two days with the scores tied at 2-2. Matt and the majority of the other subs took the chance to get changed while Capello, Pearce and the rest of the coaching staff gave their final talk. By the time the players returned from the changing rooms, Matt included, the game was once more just getting started with tired legs and minds leading the game into an end to end sort of affair as Torres and Baines both had chances but failed to take them. It was the same two who were causing the most problems for each defence, Torres having the better of both Ferdinand and Terry on the ground while Baines seemed to always be in miles of space as Puyol failed time and again to contain him. Carroll also came close as his turned with his back to goal to shoot goalwards but the effort skimmed the top of the bar. With a tence first half of extra time coming to a close and some running on mere fumes, England struck. Johnson came forward with the ball, exchanging passes with Carroll before waiting for the perfect moment to thread a ball through for Rooney who kept himself onside, beat Pique to the ball and then finished after side stepping Casillas to open up the angle. A nation rose to it's feet as Rooney ran off into the corner to celebrate his second goal. On the bench the celebrations were just as intence as nearly all the players sprung from their seats and into the technical area, all knowing that just 15 minutes stood between them and Portugal. Though once more as the goal went in at one end mistakes seemed to be forming a line to be made as Torres laid the ball to Xavi, Carroll gave chase before lunging in with a tackle that had tiredness and inexperience written all over it. With Xavi in pain and with the England players surrounding the referee, giving desperate plea's, the official showed no hesitation in raising the red card in Carroll's direction. The young striker was distraught as Terry walked him off, his chance at the semi and maybe even the final disappearing in an instant of poor judgement. Half time followed shortly after with everyone mucking in as players sought to stave off cramps and tiredness in the few moments they were given. Words of praise and encouragement were handed out to those who would play while Hargreaves and Green both tried to console a very upset looking Carroll in scene's that reminded many of Italia '90 and Gazza. Everyone soon took to the bench once more as the last 15 minutes began with England looking to park the bus. Wave after wave of Spanish pressure came, Ferdinand and Terry both making superb tackles and interceptions to deny clear cut scoring chances for the likes of Pedro and Xavi. Spain started to throw everything they had at the England backline, the slow and calculating build up play disappearing in favour of all out attack and overwhelming numbers but England stood tall, matching them punch for punch as each cross and shot was met by an England player. When the defence failed Hart stepped up, twice denying Pedro after he got free from the attentions of Cole. The players now were all stood in the technical area waiting for the final whistle as the clock went beyond the 120:00 mark on the scoreboard. Spain looked to muster one last chance as Villa drove forward before cutting it back to Torres. He moved the ball to his right before hitting a hard effort towards goal and for once the man that blocked the shot wasn't wearing white as the shot pinged off Llorente's shoulder before going out of play. Hart didn't even have to collect the ball as the referee blew the final whistle to send them into the semi final to face Portugal. Those on the bench flooded onto the pitch while the Spanish players hung their heads, some chosing to just fall to the ground as the disappointment and tiredness of the day finally took it's toll on them. There were hand shakes and wishes of luck but before long it was just a joyful looking England squad left on the pitch as the travelling supporters showed their appreciation. ( )AET England 3 (Rooney 34, 103; Carroll 54) [Carroll s/o 104] Spain 2 (Llorente 37; Villa 60) MoM: Wayne Rooney (England) Att: 63,467
  9. Wow, another couple of wins. I'm on a role i think, weird how i started winning after the Leeds takeover was sorted... Maybe i'm really Neil Warnock? lol But i think there may have been a mistake... Have i played 3 cup games cause i'm pretty sure i've only played 2? Either way i'll take 9 points if ya wanna give them to me lol
  10. The nation celebrated the team's entry to the last eight along with the fact that England were the only team to win all of their group games. Before England's game though it was the turn of Norway and Holland, the latter securing their progression with a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Huntelaar, Kuyt and Sniejder while in group D France guaranteed top spot by beating a sad looking Italy side by 2-0 with both goals being netted by Benzema either side of the half while the result also meant that Italy would finish bottom. France were joined in the next stage by Spain after they drew 3-3 with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Four goals in the first half saw Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-1 up as Rascic bagged twice along with Dzeko though in the second half Pedro and Xavi added to Torres' first half strike with the draw meaning the holders snuck in ahead of the Bosnian's. With all the group games completed England and the other seven teams learned their fate for the quarter finals, each game catching the imagination in one way or another. 2012 European Championship Quarter Final Q1: Belgium vs Germany Q2: Portugal vs Croatia Q3: England vs Spain Q4: Holland vs France Also known was who would be playing who in the semi finals as the winners of Q1 and Q4 would meet leaving Q2 and Q3 to face off meaning the possibility of an England vs Germany final was very much alive as well as the earlier prediction of an England vs Holland final. In the England camp however no one was getting too far ahead of themselves as Spain would provide perhaps the toughest test yet to Capello's England hopefuls. The last time they met was at Wembley a nearly eight months earlier where Matt produced a stunning early goal along with a nasty challenge which earned him a red card and condemnation from many in the football world. It had taken a while after that game but eventually Uefa announced that with it being a friendly and with Matt apologising for the tackle that no further action would be taken though it passed nearly without mention in the press, Matt even having to find out his fate via text message. Back home things seemed to calm on the transfer front for most teams as they took the chance to assess what they would need with many players at the European Championship's catching the eye, a decent percentage of the crowd at games being made up by scouts, managers and their assistants as they searched for the next big thing to take their sides to the next level. The games began coming thick and fast as with the ending of the group stage coming on Wednesday the following day would see the first quarter final, two promising young sides in the shape of Belgium and Germany. While both had come through tough groups it was the latter of the two coming away with a place in the semi final as Muller, Schweinsteiger and a double from Ozil saw Germany romp to a 4-1 win, Ogunjimi opener being the only source of hope for the Belgians. The friday night saw more of the same as Portgual and Croatia lodged their bids for game of the competition with a real barnstormer. Croatia cruised to a two goal lead with less that half hour on the clock, Olic and Petric with the finding the net with the latter's coming via the penalty spot. Ronaldo managed to pull one back before grabbing an equaliser in the second half to send the game into extra time. There were then three goals inside of eight extra time minutes from Moutinho, Meireles and Petric to make it 4-3 to Portugal and in the dying seconds Ronaldo completed his hat trick to set up a mouth watering grudge match with either England or Spain... 2012 European Championship Quarter Final 23/06/2012 England vs Spain Formation: 4-4-2 GK: Joe Hart RB: Glen Johnson LB: Ashley Cole CB: John Terry © CB: Rio Ferdinand CM: Tom Huddlestone CM: Frank Lampard RM: Steven Gerrard LM: Ashley Young ST: Wayne Rooney ST: Andy Carroll SUBS: GK: Robert Green CB: Chris Smalling LB: Leighton Baines ST: Matt Warner MC: James Milner CB: Phil Jagielka RB: Micah Richards RM: Aaron Lennon LM: Stuart Downing CM: Gareth Barry CM: Owen Hargreaves GK: Fraser Forster Once more England returned to the NSC Olympiyskyi Stadium, once more the game was huge and once more the players were left to wonder if they would play a part in the days games. The squad was announced and Matt, though disappointed, swallowed his pride as he took his seat on the bench. The still warm evening air greeted the players along with the ample sound of nearly 65,000 fans eargerly anticipating the clash of two of the best sides in the world. The early exchages gave off a distinctive feel of caution as Spain's well documented 'Tiki-Taka' football went head to head with England's more direct but gritty style of play. Early chances fell the way of Rooney and Carroll with neither able to really challenge Casillas in the Spain goal. The first half hour or so was somewhat of a dull encounter as England held their ground while Spain dominated the posession but the game was given a spark as England found the back of the next. Young slid his free kick short to Rooney who was stood alone on the edge of the area before setting himself and shooting, the effort took a huge hit off the shoulder of Carroll, sending the ball into the top corner to the delight of the travelling support but boo's sounded soon after as the referee raised his flag to signal offside. Though disappointing it drove England to start holding the ball more and think out their chances and soon it enough it paid off. Gerrard was felled by Monreal on the right side, Young was once more handed the chance to deliver the free kick and once more his laid it short to a completely unmarked Rooney who, after setting himself again, rocketed a shot into the top corner to give England the lead, no deflection or flag would be arriving to save Spain this time round. The game restarted and once more Spain began to fall into their familar holding pattern of play though almost straight away it yielded results. Xavi and Busquets linked up before finding a pass to Alonso, the Madrid midfielder knocked it right to Pedro. He faked to shoot before providing another pass, this time to Llorente who managed to get clear of Terry before bending an effort past Hart to put Spain almost instantly back on level terms. The Spainish dominance continued for the remainder of the half, Mata hitting the side netting after showing Gerrard a clean set of heels while Llorente came within an inch of bagging his second from a Xavi corner. Half time followed soon after with Capello giving his usual broken English team talk, "We must not eeehh.... Stop... They strong but we aaahhhh... Can win. John... You must be tight... Llorente ok? Too much time..... No change for number two half.... Must ehhhh press more.... All players.... Front and ehhhh back... Ok?" Capello urged his side, Pearce watching on quietly behind him. The players nodded, sipping back sports drinks while trying to catch their breath but the bell wasn't far away and sure enough it sounded to rallying cries as they flooded out the door for the second half....
  11. The final game was upon them, the England players once more crossing the boarder into the Ukraine, the Metalist Stadium once more playing host to them as they got set to take on Sweden, all the players knowing that a draw would see them through regardless of what happened between Norway and Holland though the coaching staff had drilled the importance of a win not only to mkae sure progression but also to stamp their mark on the competition. Once more, as in the previous two games Pearce handled the announcement of the team sheet and as the midfield was read out with the omission of Matt he sighed slightly, expecting to take a place on the bench. "... And up top Wayne and Matty are starting, the rest are on the bench. Ok lets get changed boys, warm up starts in ten minutes." Matt, with a look of suprise etched across his face, began to get changed while muttering to no one in particular "Well... I wasn't expecting that..." 2012 European Championships 20/06/2012 Sweden vs England Formation: 4-4-2 GK: Joe Hart RB: Glen Johnson LB: Ashley Cole CB: John Terry © CB: Rio Ferdinand CM: Gareth Barry CM: Frank Lampard RM: Steven Gerrard LM: Stuart Downing ST: Wayne Rooney ST: Matt Warner SUBS: GK: Robert Green CB: Chris Smalling LB: Leighton Baines LM: Ashley Young ST: Andy Carroll CB: Phil Jagielka RB: Micah Richards RM: Aaron Lennon MC: James Milner MC: Tom Huddlestone MC: Owen Hargreaves GK: Fraser Forster The teams strolled out into the lush green turf, the sun still very much out in force even in the late afternoon. Each team lined up for the playing of the national anthems, some chosing to sing while others, Matt included, declined, choosing instead to give an intence look of focus as the camera passed him. Soon though, after all the handshakes and pre-match banter had settled Sweden were given the nod to kick off and in near enough identical fasion to their last game England found themselves a goal down within 30 seconds. Wendt's ball to the middle from the left wing found Elm who hit a first time pass to Djuric and with time and space around him Ibrahimovic made a quick in and out move to receive his through ball, the effort rattling off the underside and in to make it 1-0 to the Swedes. All Matt could do was shake his head, he and Rooney giving each other a knowing look as the ball was hoofed towards them by Hart. England though, as against Norway, looked to strike back straight away with a flowing forward move ending with via a wild effort from Matt which blazed over the bar from 20 yards out. The game was more even than Capello and Pearce would have liked, both expressing there dismay at the pattern of play before them but just as Psycho got into one of his red faced rants from the sidelines England struck back. Downing laid a ball inside for Barry who, after bringing it forward a short distance, played it to Lampard and the Chelsea man responded with a superb pass to pick out Matt's run off the left side. After racing away from Lustig he took the ball in his stride and with Isaksson coming out he swing his unfamilar left foot at it, the ball finding the bottom corner to put England level again. After the restart the game followed the same pattern, neither able to find a sustained run of possession though England came closest to snatching the lead. Terry's clearence was collected by Gerrard who drove forward before picking out another lovely through ball for Matt. He zipped clear of the defence before shooting though this time his effort though only managing the find the side netting. Chances also fell the way of Downing and Johnson though Sweden weren't spectators in the game as an Elm free kick from the right saw Olsson rise highest, his header going agonisingly over the bar much to his dispair. Elm and Ibrahimovic were also gifted opportunities to restore the Swedish lead and the latter eventually did. A harmless looking Mellberg free kick from the ball dropped at Terry's feet, but with the ball caught under him Ibrahimovic slipped in and picked his pocket before moving in on goal to produce a cool finish infront of the Sweden fans. Terry held his hand's up straight away while others looked to encourage England into better, the coaching staff included as the half drew to a close. With Capello discussing his half time options with his staff though he almost missed the equaliser. Isaksson's goal kick was won in the air by Barry, the ball bouncing into Rooney's feet before being laid off to Gerrard who cut inside and found a neat pass forward to Matt. With the ball at his feet he shifted, looked up and cut the defence open with a pass to Rooney, the Man Utd forward side footing into the bottom corner on the brink of the break. In the changing rooms there were loud demands for better in terms of defending while the likes of Matt, Gerrard and Rooney were all praised for their parts. For the first time in the competition the team would remain unchanged at half time and as the 2nd half began it was Sweden who looked the more likely to find the net again. While chances weren't too often in coming it was Sweden who were creating the better of them, Viktor Elm in one instance drawing a superb finger tip save from Hart in the England goal while Hart once more denied Sweden a 3rd, this time from the boot of Ferdinand who deflected a cross off the post before the Man City keeper smothered with with Ibrahimovic baring down on him. Before too long though Capello looked to Carroll and gave him the nod, the sub board calling for the holder of the number seven shirt meaning Matt's afternoon was at an end while Downing was also brought off to be replaced by Huddlestone. Both applauded the fan's during their exit before wishing their replacements luck for the last half hour. The changes gave England a bit of a boost, Huddlestone and Carroll linking well to create a chance for Rooney, the effort well saved and held by Isaksson. The match from this point became more slow, calculating with neither side wanting to push too hard in going forward for fear of being exposed by the counter attack. Richards was the final change England made as he replaced Gerrard, Johnson again going to the right of midfield and that move brought the game's fith goal. Barry with the ball on the left played it across for Rooney, who was crowded before slotting it over one more to Carroll in space. The big Liverpool forward taking his time before turning and finding his Anfield team mate Johnson in acres of space, the make shift winger collecting the pass and dispatching it low across the keeper in style to give England the lead with just 6 minutes of time left on the clock, the England players mobbing him infront of some angry looking Sweden fans. With the goal came pressure, Sweden decided on having four out and out forwards as they sought an equaliser to keep them in the game and maybe the tournament and it was when one of those forwards moves broke down that England tied up the game. Elm was caught in possession by Rooney and as they both went down Huddlestone collected the ball, laying it left to Barry who in turn tucked it back to Cole and with Rooney on his feet once more the Chelsea full back found his run with a world class pass, Rooney breaking the offside trap the meet the ball. With the keeper rushing out he slid the ball left and fired low, tucking his effort just inside the near post to secure England's progression to the quarter final and seal Sweden's early flight home. Sweden came close to setting up an epic finish to the game when a quick free kick found it's way to Olsson on the edge of the area, his savage effort went straight down Hart's throat for him to palm down before being cleared by Ferdinand, the final whistle sounding before the ball hit the ground again. It cued calmed but massively happy celebrations, the players taking a chance to applaud the England fan's attendance. ( )Sweden 2 (Ibrahimovic 1, 38) England 4 (Warner 9; Rooney 45, 88; Johnson 84) MoM: Wayne Rooney (England) Att: 40,236
  12. The earlier game of the day saw Sweden fall by 4-1 against a more rampant looking Holland side with Van Persie bagging a hat trick along with a goal from Bouma, Jonsson getting the Swedish goal which meant that both sides need to win to guarantee their progression to the next round in their final games while England would need just a draw to seal top spot but defeat could see both Sweden and Holland sneak in ahead of them and with little time between matches need to keep the squad fresh meant that the Monday saw many of the players wives, girlfriends and kids arrive at the hotel for a bit of relaxation. It made Matt think back and wonder, about Kelly and Becky, both of which he missed though he'd never admit it due to his pride, a trait that ran strong in the Warner males. With the most of the players spending the evening with their families Matt retreated to his room to watch both of the day's games. The first saw Belgium sneak past Russia thanks to a late Eden Hazard goal while co-host's Poland came close to overcoming Portugal, goals from Lewandowski and Polandski twice having them ahead before Nani and Manuel Fernandes leveled the scores meaning Portugal and Belgium progressed to the last eight. Back in Leeds there was very little in the way of transfer activity as they missed out on the capture of both Lee Wallace and Bongani Khumalo while other transfers to make the news were that of England and Everton pair Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines completing a £37.5 double deal to Spurs as they looked to make a push for the title, along with a pro-tracted deal for promising Moroccan midfielder Zakaria Labyad on a free transfer. Man City signed Dmytro Chygrynskyi for nearly £16m and Arsenal brought in 22 year old Ukrainian winger Andriy Yarmelenko. Tuesday's final group A games saw Croatia and Germany progress to the quarter finals. Croatia snuck through as runners-up after securing a 2-1 win over Montenegro, Loveren and Tomecak on the score sheet with Vukovic grabbing the goal for Montenegro. In the second game Germany held the co-host's Ukraine to a 1-1 draw, Poldolski's late equaliser dumping one of the home sides out of the competition after Seleznyov opened the scoring in the first half. Before the England game though Matt recieved text messages wishing him luck while also informing him that Leeds had wrapped up another signing, this time in the shape of 22 year old Panathinaikos midfielder Sotiris Ninis for around £4m with bids also believed to have been lodged for Alejandro Faurlin and Abel Aguillar but once more there was very little apart from that. Matt had been impressed so far with the signings that had been made, some of his England team mates also giving the nod of approval stating that Leeds were starting to look more threatening with each signing. The signings in question were all promising young players but there was also a disinct lack of experience in the signings which slightly worried Matt as with the exception of himself, Kisnorbo, Jones and McCormack the rest of the team that finished the season were all under the age of 25. There were rumours that Redknapp was still in the hunt for at least three more players, many touting the signing of another left back, central defender and centre midfielder with a striker maybe on the list of well. It made many wonder where the money was coming from after years of frugal transactions suddenly Leeds seemed to just happen up large amounts of money, some likening it to their sudden fall from grace during the early part of the millenium. And no one wanted to suffer through that again....
  13. The team once more travelled into Ukraine, this time headed for Kharkiv for their game at Metalist Stadium. As they arrived there was already a large number of fans waiting, enjoying the various local events put on to entertain the fans before kick off. In the changing rooms once more Capello handed the team sheet off before departing to speak to the various press outlets in attendance. Pearce read out the team sheet and once more Matt was left disappointed, this time being pushed out into the left while Huddlestone came into the centre of midfield to replace Barry who dropped to the bench. 2012 European Championships 17/06/2012 England vs Norway Formation: 4-4-2 GK: Joe Hart RB: Glen Johnson LB: Ashley Cole CB: John Terry © CB: Rio Ferdinand CM: Tom Huddlestone CM: Frank Lampard RM: Steven Gerrard LM: Matt Warner ST: Wayne Rooney ST: Andy Carroll SUBS: GK: Robert Green CB: Chris Smalling LM: Ashley Young RM: Aaron Lennon CB: Phil Jagielka RB: Micah Richards LM: Stuart Downing MC: James Milner MC: Gareth Barry MC: Owen Hargreaves GK: Fraser Forster The ground was once more ram packed as the side made their way onto the pitch and into the cool evening air, England clad in their dark blue shirts and shorts. After the national anthems rang out with gusto the whistle sounded to signal the start, Norway winning the coin toss and taking the kick off and starting in fine fashion. Solli collected the ball on the right before hitting a ball forward for Elyounoussi to chase down, he collected and shot with Hart palming away with the ball falling to Grindheim who shot first time with Terry managing to divert it away from goal but Riise got in fire home with only 30 second on the clock. The nation produced a collective sigh as the men in red celebrated, the England player's left to ask questions between themselves before the game restarted. The shock of the early opener seemed to subside very quickly from an England point of view as Johnson played a ball forward for Gerrard who bent it inside first time to Carroll, finding time to turn and run at the defence before entering the area and almost from an impossible angle he shot, the effort hitting the crossbar, bouncing onto the line and then once more off the bar before crossing the line to put England almost instantly back on level terms. The England fan's behind the goal sounded their appreciation as once more back home packed bars and clubs erupted in celebration. After the restart both side found themselves on the receiving end of multiple yellow cards with Gerrard and Johnson both getting booked inside the first 10 minutes along with Norway's Haestad and Skjelbred. The next closest chance of the game fell the way of Matt after some probing passing saw Lampard play it into Matt's feet, the out of position forward managing to turn and shoot but instantly he knew he hadn't struck it cleanly. At the other end Norway were looking to prove they weren't just a flash in the pan as once more Elyounoussi pounced on a through ball to shoot from the angle, this time Hart having to simply watch the ball as it went harmlessly wide of the mark. England though were starting to click into gear as once more their passing and moving proved tough to deal with, this time Rooney finding space to drive into the area though his low shot was saved very well by Larsen before being cleared up field. The tackles were also flying in with increasing regularity as both sides fought to control what was a packed midfield, the tough nature of the game showing in the five yellow cards that had already been shown as once more Larsen made a save, denying Carroll who got free in the centre to shoot but his effort was straight down Larsen's throat. The half time whistle came shortly afterwards and once more Matt was left frustrated as Capello announced that the only change would be Matt making way for Young. In fairness it hadn't been his best game by any stretch of the imagination but it didn't serve as any consolation for the diappointment of not playing any part in either 2nd half. The half started with England once more looking the better side, early on a Huddlestone drive from distance gave Larsen something to think about before Norway were dealt a blow as in the scramble for the ball Hangeland came off second best in a challenge with Carroll, the Fulham defender making way for Thomas Rogne. Norway refused to lie down though and despite having on minimal possession of the ball, Elyounoussi was still causing trouble for the back line, Grindheim once more threading a ball through for him but his well hit shot inside the area was saved by Hart once more. Capello, having spent the entire half just observing from his seat, decided on a change. This time he called for Barry with Lampard making way for his arrival to the game, his introduction serving to cement England's domination of recent proceedings. While chance's had become fewer in their frequency England continued to have the better of them, Huddlestone again with a drive from at least 35 yard, the effort missing the top corner by inches while later he once again had a go, this time though it never troubling Larsen as the game came upon the final 10 minutes and also it's 3rd goal. Cole's throw in from the left to Carroll's feet yielded a cross which Rogne got all wrong, the ball heading into the back of his own net. There was a deep feeling of relief rather than joy as England took the lead for the first time in the game. Almost as the ball crossed the line though Capello requested his final change as Richard's came on for Gerrard with Johnson going to the right of midfield. Norway tried to build but by this point England had shut up shop, playing the ball around must to the frustration of some of the travelling fan's as well as the Norway players who spent the remainder of the game simply chasing the ball around until their exit from the competition was all but secured with the final whistle, the same sound also pretty much confirming England's place in the quarter finals. ( )England 2 (Carroll 4; Rogne o/g 81) Norway 1 (Riise 1) MoM: Andy Carroll (England) Att: 35,992
  14. Saturday brought more training and preperation, Capello deciding once more to keep his team selection to himself until the side arrived at the stadium. The Saturday night saw the the players being allowed a beer or two, most choosing to have them during the evenings game between Germany and Montenegro where goals from Podolski and Gomez helped the Germans to a 2-1 win, Vucinic getting the Montenegran goal. Earlier in the day Croatia got up and running with a 2-1 win over co-hosts Ukraine, Petric and an Olic penalty coming either side of Milevskyi's goal. During the game Matt took a chance to talk and text friends back home, one of which having news over his future. "Alright Joe mate, how goes it?" "Yeah.... Goo... Yeah good." "Catch you at a bad time?" Matt quizzed. "No, just trying to pack up some stuff?" "Why? You going somewhere?" "You ain't heard?" Joe asked as he closed up another box ready for the movers to take. "Nope... What's gone on?" "Well a few days ago Blackpool made an offer, County accepted it and i signed for them yesterday night.... Suprised you didn't see." "Ahhh, well congrats mate... How much they offer?" "Just a shade under £600k.... I could have stayed at Notts but.. Well i feel i'm good enough to be playing at a higher level and were weren't anywhere near going up last season. It's sad to leave but.." ".. Yeah, ya need to look to the future. Well, i won't keep you from packing but congrats again and we'll sort something out when i get back, you can show us round Blackpool or something." "Sounds good.... Oh and calm down, don't be so shouty on the pitch." The chance to poke fun at his on pitch outburst too good to turn down. "Yeah yeah... I'll ciya in a bit jackass!" Matt replied, putting the phone down while laughing quietly to himself.
  15. Though the performance was highly professional and polished the media focus fell squarely on Matt's outburst, the paper Capello held infront of him saying all it needed to, WHAT THE F**K!? Warner's outburst overshadow's England win. Psycho sat next to Matt as the inquest began, "Matt... You ahhhh can't do that... It make look bad the eeehhh... Team!" "I know... But i'm not a central midfielder... The reason i reacted how i did was because you had Gareth playing left midfield. Why not put him in the centre and let me go left?" Pearce chimed in, "I thought you didn't like playing on the left, i heard you'd been talking about it.." "I don't... If your all out of central midfielder's then yes, i'll play there but i don't see why you start me up front only to have a merry go round with barely quarter of an hour gone and then change it at half time..." "Because i eeehhhh saw gap.... You pace make.... difficult for Holland.... Van Bommel and De Jong. I want exploit that." "Look either way i'm sorry... I was just annoyed that i'm not playing up front." Capello gave a nod, Pearce once more taking the lead. "Ok Matty... Lets just draw a line under this and move on alright?" Matt nodded before being given the signal to leave. Matt's frustration had gotten the better of him but deep down he agreed that he couldn't let his outbursts be so public. Back home there was more news on the transfer front with Leeds confirming the exit of Bruno Silva to Panathinaikos and Lonegran to West Bromich Albion while Kyle Naugton joined for £1.5m. There was also conformation from the agent of Stuart Parnaby that he was in talks with Millwall over a £600k move as Redknapp looked to shape his squad into one that could cope with the rigours of the Premier League while also looking to the future with deals being struck for recently released 17 years old's Adam Henley and Jake Sinclair, the latter keen to join up with his older brother Scott at Elland Road. After England's win the other teams in their group got their competition hopes under way, Sweden beating Norway by 3-0 with goals from Ibrahimovic, Elmander and Djuric ahead of their Sunday fixture against Holland. There were further games over the course of the week leading upto England's game against Norway with the Wednesday seeing just one game with the scoreline once more reading 3-0, this time Russia beating co-hosts Poland thanks to a double from Kerzhavov in addition to a late Glushakov strike. Thursday's games saw another group B drubbing as Portugal guranteed their progression to the quarter final after a heavy 4-0 defeat of Belgium which saw Danny, Veloso and a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo do the damage. The Friday afternoon saw Italy's chance's take another heavy blow as they were held in a 2-2 draw by Bosnia and Herzegovina. With all the goals coming inside of 25 minutes both sides had the lead before being pegged back by their opponents, Balotelli and Giovinco, the latter from the penalty spot, on target for Italy while Salihovic and Dzeko bagged the goals for the underdogs. Later in the day though another big game showed the unpredicabilty of tournament football as a plucky France performance saw them overcome reigning world and european champions Spain by 2-0 with goals from Diarra and Benzema either side of Albiol's red card which was made all the more frustrating as he recieved his first booking barely a minute before. As each game passed each of the favourites seemed to be making mistakes with, so far at least, the exception of England. Though they had only played once the confidence was beginning to increase purely from seeing each of the main contenders show their weaknesses at such an early stage.
  16. The final preperations had been made, the nerves were starting to jangle just a little bit as team made the trip from Krakow to Kyiv, the nerves weren't helped by the fact that Capello had decided to play his cards close to his chest, the team set to be announced only when they arrived. With the exception of Spain's match against Italy, this could potentially be the tie of the group stages as 1st in the world took on 2nd in the world. Time seemed to fly as they headed for the newly rebuilt NSC Olympiyskiy Stadium, each of the players admiring the new 70,000 plus seater stadium which would be the home of Dynamo Kyiv come the end of the tounament. Inside the facilities were just as impressive, the players finding thier places in the large changings rooms before settling down as the request of Stuart Pearce. He and Capello had a quiet talk before the manager left leaving Psycho with the team sheet ready to announce the team and get them ready. 2012 European Championships 12/06/2012 Holland vs England Formation: 4-4-2 GK: Joe Hart RB: Glen Johnson LB: Ashley Cole CB: John Terry © CB: Rio Ferdinand CM: Gareth Barry CM: Frank Lampard RM: Steven Gerrard LM: Wayne Rooney ST: Matt Warner ST: Andy Carroll SUBS: GK: Robert Green CB: Chris Smalling LM: Stuart Downing LM: Ashley Young CB: Phil Jagielka RB: Micah Richards CM: Tom Huddlestone RM: Aaron Lennon MC: James Milner MC: Owen Hargreaves GK: Fraser Forster The players strolled out into the late afternoon sun to an almighty cheer from the nearly full to capacity stadium that would also host the final in just under 3 weeks time. The squad again contained players being played out of position with Rooney being handed the left midfield position. The Van Persie and Sniejder got the game underway to another loud cheers from those in the stands. The game started with both sides looking to lnd the first punch, Snidjer's shot from distance pushed away by Hart while England's slick early passing and moving yielded the better of the possession without putting the Dutch keeper under overwhelming pressure. The best chance fell the way of Huntelaar in the early going as he worked some space away from the attentions of Terry before bending one low barely a yard wide the post. The shuffling began with barely 15 minutes gone, Capello giving the order for Matt, Barry and Rooney to switch with Matt dropping to the centre of midfield, Barry going to the left and Rooney going up front, expert lip readers not needed as those watching on TV saw him look to the bench and ask "What the f**k?" The annoyance of being played so grossly out of position seemed to finally get to him as one of his surging runs ended via a hard De Jong challenge, the referee allowing play to go on as Rooney picked up the loose ball and bent one towards the top corner, the ball skimming off the bar before going out while at the other end Drenthe latched onto a Huntelaar through ball before firing past Hart at the angle though it was ruled out, harshly by the looks of it, for offside with barely half hour gone. England were beginning to looked the better side, Lampard laying a Holland clearence to Matt who found time to get it onto his right and set himself, his effort whistling just over the bar. With the Holland looking to pour forward at the other end though England managed broke the deadlock with a well times counter attack. Ferdinand heading a clearance to Carroll who with his first touch laid it to Matt's feet and with space infront he began to motor forward, Van Bommell, Boularouz and Van Der Wiel all left in his wake before shooting low across the keeper. Stekelenburg got a good hand to it, the ball springing out to the edge of the area where Carroll reacted quickest to thread it through a crowd to open the scoring. Bars and clubs across England erupted as the players celebrated in the corner along with goal hero Carroll who continued his impressive form for his country. With the restart Holland looked to drive forward and get back on level terms almost straight away but Terry headed clear a dangerous looking Drenthe cross, Carroll losing out to Van Bommel with Matt collecting and playing a first time ball forward to Rooney's feet who turned and ran at the Holland defence, only pausing to play a one-two with Gerrard. The return ball was sent down the right before Rooney once more collected, cut inside and hit a low shot at the near post which had Stekelenburg sprawling unsuccessfully to keep it out as England made it two goals in as many minutes, the home support in the ground making an almighty racket in their corner of the ground. After the restart the game calmed for the most part but with the half making it's way into the final moments England almost made it 3-0. Barry and Matt working well before playing it inside to Rooney who bided his time before playing into Gerrard's run, the Liverpool captain drawing a top drawer save fro Stekelenburg. In the changing room's the players were praised while one change was made, Matt's outburst earlier in the half being viewed in a dull light as he was replaced by Huddlestone, Matt letting out a deep sigh before pulling his boots off with each of the lime green Nike's hitting the floor with a hard and sharp thud, his frustration clear for all to see. Soon though the players were back on the pitch and with the exception of an early chance for for Lampard the game became an all over dull affair, Matt sat with a face like thunder in the dugout. The first real chance of the half came on the hour mark as Gerrard came inside from the right to play in Carroll who turned and opened up what seemed like acres of space after shrugging off Boulabouz's challenge but his curling effort aimed at the top corner only found the fans behind the goal. From this point England began to dominate and while chances were few and far between they all fell the way of the three lions, Barry's free kick from the left drawing Stekelenburg into no man's land but luckily for him Huddlestone failed to keep his header down with an open goal infront of him. Holland continued to try and break loose and find a way back in but the likes of Terry and Ferdinand, some believing it to be their last international tournament, were seemingly unbeatable in both the air and on the ground as Van Persie and Huntelaar struggled more and more. With each minute that passed England were looking more and more assured in posession, Ferdinand coming close from a Gerrard corner with a header at the near post only for Van Bommel to clear to safety. Soon enough though, with only injury time left on the clock Capello made his final two changes with Gerrard and Barry making way for Hargreaves and Baines, neither really managing to influence the game in anyway before the final whistle was blown. The cheer was loud and joyful from the England fan's as staff and players from each side exhanged hand shakes and wishes of luck for the rest of the tournament, England's assured performance surely set to turn a few heads as they stamp their claim as potential tournament winners. ( )Holland 0 England 2 (Carroll 36; Rooney 38) MoM: Maarten Stekelenburg (Holland) Att: 63,475
  17. It was a disappointing end to the warm up schedule, the England players now being left to wonder if their season was to end in a few days or if they would be heading to Krakow for the European Championship's. A few looked worried, others looked confident while Matt was pleased with how his performances had panned out, despite being played out of position for the most part. The players were given the chance to relax for the next couple of days while Capello made his choices for what would be his final few games as England boss. In Leeds the rumour mill began to click into overdrive as more names were linked with moves to Elland Road while others became subject of bids to take them away, word getting back to Matt that both Silva and Lonegran were in talks over possible moves while those touted as joining ranked from David Bentley to Kyle Naughton with it easy to see the connection between the two clubs with Redknapp's at both helms. The names had impressed Matt but he knew better than most that it was better to see something concrete than to hedge bets on press speculation plus his mind was more firmly on how he'd be spending his summer and on the Friday morning the call came. "Hello ahhh Matt, how ehh how are you?" "I'm good Mr. Capello, yourself?" Matt said, a slight twinge of nerves as he began to pace his living room. "I'm fine." "So..... What am i doing this summer?" "I've selected you in ehhhhh my final team... I shall ahhh see you soon." "Aweome, thank you Mr. Capello." "And aaahhhh you have 7 shirt... Ok?" "The number 7... Yes that's awesome, thanks again." "No ehhh.. Problem." The phone went dead and Matt punched the air as he gazed out of the window of his high rise flat, thinking to himself, "Krakow here i come..." Before too long the squad was announced to the press with the nation, Matt included, watching intently to find out who would be leading England's challenge. Goalkeepers Joe Hart (Man City) Robert Green (West Ham Utd) Fraser Forster (Celtic) Defenders Micah Richards (Man City) Glen Johnson (Liverpool) Chris Smalling (Man Utd) Ashley Cole (Chelsea) Leighton Baines (Everton) John Terry (Chelsea) Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd) Phil Jagielka (Everton) Midfielders Gareth Barry (Man City) Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham) Owen Hargreaves (Man City) Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) Frank Lampard (Chelsea) James Milner (Man City) Ashley Young (Man Utd) Aaron Lennon (Tottenham) Stewart Downing (Liverpool) Forwards Matt Warner (Leeds/Arsenal) Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) Andy Carroll (LIverpool) There weren't too many surprises but many did question Matt's continued selection over Peter Crouch, a man who last season was in and around the best when it came to forwards in the Premier League while Theo Walcott was also omitted from the squad with many comparison's with the 2010 World Cup where he was also left behind, Capello going as far to admit not selecting him was a mistake after England crashed out against Germany two years earlier but once more he was deemed surplus to requirements to put another dent in his developement. There were also a fair few questions aimed in Capello's direction for only selecting three strikers and three wingers while also taking six central midfielders. Time, as it always seems to do, will tell if he's made the right decisions. In the week that followed Leeds confirmed the signing of Scott Sinclair in a deal thought to be worth around the £2m mark while also confirming the capture of promising Czech Republic left back Jan Lecjaks in another deal believed to be around the £2m pound mark. Leeds also took the chance to confirm that offers for Lonegran, Parnaby and Silva had all been accepted with the likes of Blackburn, Millwall and Leicester in talks with them. The England squad, once announced, made their way to their new home for the next two weeks at least in the heart of Krakow, Poland. Their hotel, The Hotel Stary, sat right in the middle of the city with the main square barely 20 metres away and their training camp a mere fifteen minute drive at the recently renovated ground of Polish lower league side Hutnik Krakow. The players seemed impressed when they finally reached the hotel, the former medievil cellar now transformed into a spa for the players while the they would be given a room each, the F.A. booking out all fifty-three rooms for the length of the tournament. With England settling in as the week wore on the press coverage intensified as the progress and work of the last two years got closer and closer to the real moment of truth. They ranked at number two in the world, a fact that many were keen to play up but in their opening game they were set to face the only team above them in the world rankings in the shape of 2010 World Cup runner's up Holland with some even going as far as to suggest that it may be an early showing of a possible final for the competition but before their showdown the tournament was given it's opening game as Belgium took on one of the co-hosts in the shape of Poland. The game ended in a 1-1 draw but for Matt it was more of a chance to get a first peek as his new team mate as the day before Jamie Rednapp introduced the signings of Scott Sinclair, Jan Lecjaks and surprise signing Kevin De Bruyne who joined in a deal close to £5m, a high sum considering he left Genk just six months earlier for around a tenth of that sum. The signing though seemed to be inspired as the next day for his nation he bagged the opening goal of the competition before Belgium were pegged back by the hosts. On the Sunday it was the turn of six more sides to make their first appearence of the competition as Russia fell by 2-0 against Portugal, Ronaldo and Almeida on the scoresheet. Bosnia and Herzegovina held France in a very entertaining 2-2 draw. The result was made more impressive as France had a man adavantage for over an hour and held the lead twice, first through Benzema and then later thanks to Nasri but each time they were pinned back thanks to goals from Ibsevic and a last minute equaliser from Dzeko. The final game of the day was one of the bigger games of the competition as holders and world champions Spain, took on Italy with the champs coming out on top in a 2-1 win thanks Torres and Mata after Italy had taken the lead through Pazzini. The next day Germany and co-hosts Ukraine got their tournament's underway with Croatia and Montenegro being their opponents. The first game of the day saw Ukraine take on Montenegro where a double from Andriy Yarmolenko either side of a Simon Vukcevic striker secured a winning start for the co-hosts while in the evening Germany triumped by 3-1 over Croatia. Goals from Klose and a Mario Gomez double secured the win for Germany with Olic on the scoresheet for Croatia. Next though, it would be the turn of England as a nation's excitement began to build both home and away....
  18. Following the win the F.A. made an announcement and the nation collectively sighed as Steve McClaren was named as the Team GB coach for the Olympic's. Forums, facebook statuses, twitter feeds all voiced their disappointment and Matt had to agree. He was part of McClaren's England side which failed to qualify for the 2008 European Championship's and while he wouldn't say it in public or to the press, he was baffled at how a man who had been out of work for six months after failing so miserably at Nottingham Forest could possibly even be considered for the job. Many called for Jamie Redknapp and others in equal voice asked for Roy Hodgson to be given a chance after he masterminded West Brom's superb season. In Leeds speculation began to build over possible transfers, Scott Sinclair's name was thrown into the mix while sources in the nations tabloids also predicted moves for Alejandro Faurlin of QPR, Adam Johnson of Man City and Kevin De Bruyne who was plying is trade at Sion in Switzerland. There was also speculation on who was due to leave with the likes of Lonegran, Silva, Somma and Sam all touted for possible moves away from Elland Road but at this point nothing concrete was forth coming with many keen to concentrate on their well earned holiday's. There wasn't too much time between games as England headed over to France for their final Euro 2012 warm up game with a promise of more tinkering. This time round it was Rooney who would start on the left hand side while Matt and Carroll would begin up front for what would be a more stern test of their tag as the world's number two side. International Friendly 30/05/2012 France vs England Formation: 4-4-2 GK: Joe Hart RB: Glen Johnson LB: Ashley Cole CB: John Terry © CB: Chris Smalling CM: Gareth Barry CM: Tom Huddlestone RM: Steven Gerrard LM: Wayne Rooney ST: Matt Warner ST: Andy Carroll SUBS: GK: Robert Green CB: Rio Ferdinand LB: Leighton Baines ML: Stuart Downing ST: Darren Bent CB: Gary Cahill CB: Phil Jagielka ML: Ashley Young RM: Theo Walcott The rain was coming down in Paris as they teams made their way onto the field, the modest crowd in attendance applauding their entrance and before too long the game was underway. The early going was slow and deliberate, the two heavy weights choosing to feel each other out with the game in it's infantcy. The first real chance of the game fell the way of England as Cole found space up the left hand side before cutting back to Barry who in turn helped it onto to Matt, he took a touch before side footing low at the near post, Lloris getting a strong hand to it before Rami cleared into touch. At the other end Briand made a bursting run through the middle before laying the ball into the feet of Nasri but his shot was watched wide by Hart in the England goal. The opening exchanges had promised much and soon enough the deadlock was broken. Cole played the ball forward to Rooney on the left wing to push inside to Matt, the Leeds striker turning and jinxing past Sakho before driving in on goal. His shot was palmed clear by Lloris but it came straight out to the advancing Rooney who side footed into the bottom corner to gift England the early lead. After the restart France began to build a prolonged spell of pressure, Ribery and Benzema both being handed chances after good passing moves onto the shoot right at Hart in the England goal. The rain continued to fall and France continued to dicatate the game as the clocked ticked past the half hour mark yet Hart had yet to make a truly meaningful save despite the near constant possession and pressure from the home side. Though chances for England were few and far between they were creating the better chances, Matt once more forcing Lloris to back his claims as one of the best keepers in the world while a Rooney effort from distance took a wild deflection before trickling just wide of the mark for a corner, those in the stand breathing a sigh of relief. With the half nearly at an end France came close to leveling the scores as the game became end to end again. Ribery picked up Lloris' goal kick on the left before coming inside and threading a ball through for Benzema who shrugged off the challenge of Smalling, moving in on goal unchecked before shooting only for the post to come to England's rescue. At half time Capello seemed pleased but asked for more in key area's, "You must ahhhh get tight to man.... They have much space... This cannot ahhh happen. Midfield you leave defence exposed." The shuffling during the first half of play as seen Barry on the left and Matt in the centre though there was one change which would once more change that. Ferdinand came on for Carroll leaving Smalling to move to right back and Johnson to push forward to the right midfied position. Gerrard went to central midfield with Matt returning to his more familar striking role. England got the second half underway and the early exchanges saw France once more on top, Cabaye, Benzema and Ribery all going close to adding the the scoreline, the latter clipping the crossbar with a well hit free kick from at least 30 yard, Hart scambling in vain to get some sort of touch on it but once more the woodwork came to his and England's rescue. It took until the hour mark before England managed to fashion a meaningful chance, Barry's cheeky free kick to Gerrard ended in a low shot which skipped through a crowd of players before flashing wide with Lloris rooted to the spot. Martin was next to take a free kick for the home side, this time the effort floated into the box where Sakho met it with a powerful header but once more Hart was relieved to see it fly behind the goal. Capello, seeing his side struggling to break the tide of pressure, decided on a change as Matt and Gerrard made way for Bent and Young, the latter replacing Barry on the left wing with the Man City midfielder returning to the centre. The game seemed to die down following the changes, France still making the better of the chances and having the majority of possession for the most part as the game entered the final few minutes, the men in blue still searching for an equaliser and it almost came courtesy of Nasri. Cabaye played the ball into Cisse who took it in his stride before picking out a pass for Nasri, with Young shadowing him he show from the angle, Hart able to palm it away for a corner. The pressure as now becoming relentless, injury time within touching distance when finally the pressure paid off. Nasri and Cabaye exchanging passes before the latter found M'Vila in the centre who helped it through to Remy, the French forward beating the offside trap before striking it into the top corner from close range with Hart closing in. The disappointment was clear to see from the away side but in truth France had dominated the second half and deserved something from the game. The board was raised to show 3 minutes of added on time with Capello deciding to make his final changes of the game, Green and Baines taking the place of Hart and Johnson but it made little difference with the full time whistle following shortly afterwards ending the game in a stalement and producing a fair few questions for various pundits in studio's around the ground and beyond. ( )France 1 (Remy 90) England 1 (Rooney 12) MoM: Hugo Lloris (France) Att: 47,954
  19. The England team flew straight home in order to prepare for the next friendly at Wembley against Slovenia, Capello ready once more to tinker with the first team line up in order to whittle down the 30 men at his disposal to 23 in time for the first game against Holland. As the days passed Capello soon announced the starting line up, the players taking it in turned to look over the team sheet as the manager left them to get changed after another training session. "Left midfield again?" "Looks like it, you not liking it?" Terry asked as he pulled his training top off. "I'd rather play higher up if i'm gonna play on the left.... I don't mind but there are better players in that position.... Ash plays there for Man Utd..." "True but the gaffer must see something he likes when you play there..." "Maybe but... I dunno, maybe it's just to see how Andy does up front with Wayne for the time being..." The rest of the day flew by and before too long they were once again in the Wembley changing rooms, the seats in the stands above their heads filling up quickly. International Friendly 27/05/2012 England vs Slovenia Formation: 4-4-2 GK: Joe Hart RB: Glen Johnson LB: Ashley Cole CB: John Terry © CB: Rio Ferdinand CM: Steven Gerrard CM: Frank Lampard RM: Aaron Lennon LM: Matt Warner ST: Wayne Rooney ST: Andy Carroll SUBS: GK: Robert Green CB: Chris Smalling DL: Leighton Baines ML: Stuart Downing ST: Gabriel Agbonlahor CB: Gary Cahill RB: Micah Richards ML: Ashley Young RM: Theo Walcott There was only four changes from the team which had won so convincingly against Bosnia & Herzegovina five days earlier, Lennon came onto the right side with Gerrard going into the central midfield position along with Lampard. Cole also replaced Baines at left back. The game kicked off and almost opened with a bang as within the a minute Handanovic was forced to keep out a rasping Gerrard drive which was headed directly for the top corner. It seemed to set the tone as flexed their muscles in the early going leaing the visitors to just chase shadows, the sun beaming down, summer now in full swing along with England who once more went close to opening the scoring. Lennon coming in from the right side to pass to Lampard who turned and played in a through ball to Matt in acres of space, though as he bore down on goal his shot was straight at the visiting keeper before the effort was cleared. The traffic was firmly headed in just one direction as the pressure continued to grow, Lampard next to test Handanovic with an effort from outside the area, the Slovenian palming it away. With the early pressure failing to yield an opener the frustation was becoming more and more vocal from both the stands and the sidelines with just over 20 minutes gone in the game, thankfully though there wasn't much longer to wait as England finally took the lead. Cole winning possession with a good challenge, the loose ball being collected by Matt who took off running at the heart of the Slovenian defence and with them backing off he struck, this effort sneaking past Handanovic into his right hand corner to give England a deserved lead. The goal settled both player and fan alike as following the restart, England began to dominate once again with Matt coming close to adding a second with another distance drive, this time being tee'd up by a Lampard free kick, his effort taking a deflection on it's way out though it was only temporary respite for the away side. Terry winning a header in the air before the ball found it's way to Rooney, his one two with Carroll setting him away from the defence before curling in a low left footed effort to make it 2-0 with just over half an hour gone. The home defence barely had time to catch their breath before England came out their with devastating effect once more. Johnson slotting a pass from the right to Carroll who laid the ball up first time for Rooney to strike low into the left hand corner to make it 3-0. Following the goal Slovenia began to find their footing a little, the away side beginning in small measure to stem the tide of relentless England pressure though it was still the home side who were controlling the flow of the game and on the brink of half time they added to the scoring. Gerrard collecting a ball from the right before turning and finding his midfield partner Lampard, he helped it on to Rooney who'd dropped off his man. With space to turn he hit a hard effort goalwards, Handanovic well beaten as it cannoned off the bar leaving Carroll to react quickest and volley into the empty net on the brink of half time. Capello let the players know he was pleased with what he'd seen in the first half but was going to make one change with Baines coming on for Carroll meaning Matt would be placed up front with Rooney once more while Baines would slot into the left wing position. The second half started slowly and in more even fashion, Slovenia's frontmen finally getting some action as Zupan took Hari's pass in his stride before striking goalwards but Hart watched the effort trickle a good few yards wide. There was alot more bite and fight from the away side as Capello made a change just past the hour mark, Smalling and Agbonlahor coming on for Johnson and Matt. It wasn't long after the changes that Hart was forced into his first save of the afternoon, Hari this time playing in Pavlin to smash an effort to the Man City keepers left, Hart getting strong hands to it to tip it wide. With Slovenia applying more and more pressure Capello took the chance to make further changes with Cole, Ferdinand and Gerrard all making way for Downing, Cahill and Richards. After the subs chances were few and far between, England halting the Slovenian pressure and simply playing the game out to it's conclusion. There was the odd shot from distance but the keepers were rarely required to leave their comfort zone and as the final whistle went the fan in attendance gave a cheer of appreciation as England rounded off their second friendly with another 4-0 win, the last time England would be seen at Wembley until September. ( )England 4 (Warner 24; Rooney 35, 38; Carroll 45+2) Slovenia 0 MoM: Wayne Rooney (England) Att: 73,984
  20. Capello, keeping good on his promise to experiment with the team, made a few changes but only one of them dominated the pre-match talk as Matt was deployed on the left of midfield, harking back to days when anyone and everyone was tried there as a solution to the well documented 'Left Wing' problem. Gerrard took up position on the right of the midfield, a position he'd played a fair few times for both club and country but other than that there were no real surprises in the team selection. International Friendly 24/05/2012 Bosnia & Herzegovina vs England Formation: 4-4-2 GK: Joe Hart RB: Glen Johnson LB: Leighton Baines CB: John Terry © CB: Rio Ferdinand CM: Gareth Barry CM: Tom Huddlestone RM: Steven Gerrard LM: Matt Warner ST: Wayne Rooney ST: Andy Carroll SUBS: GK: Robert Green CB: Gary Cahill CB: Chris Smalling ML: Stuart Downing ST: Gabriel Agbonlahor RB: Micah Richards DL: Ashley Cole ML: Ashley Young RM: Theo Walcott Though it was warm, heat hanging in the air as they stepped out onto the pitch, the rain was falling quite heavily making for some high paced early play in which England dominated. Chances fell the way of both Huddlestone and Terry, the latter getting a free header on goal from 6 yard out but failing to find the target, his header blazing over the bar but the closest effort of the early going fell the way of Gerrard. Matt scampering inside from the left before threading the needle with a ball to Gerrard but his shot from the angle had the power but not the placement as it flashed inches wide of the post. Bosnia & Herzegovini began to find their footing, Ibricic's corner from the right was won by Dzeko but though his head caused some panic Hart eventually gathered it and the opening goal followed shortly after. Barry picked up the ball in the middle before feeding it forward to Carroll in space who played a first time pass to his left where Rooney was waiting. The Man Utd forward moved in on goal, finding the space he needed to deliver a piledriving effort from 18 yards out which beat Begovic all hands up. The modest away support were on their feet as they England players celebrated in front of them. When the game resumed England were still firmly in control of the game, holding the ball for long periods and creating more than enough chances to kill the game off before they reached half time. On the brink of the interval though they managed a 2nd. Barry once playing his part as Englad built from the back with a ball forward to Carroll who again laid a first time pass inside to Huddlestone who in turn produced his own first time through ball to Rooney. He broke loose from his marker and with Begovic closing in flicked the ball over head and into the open net to double the advantage. In the changing rooms made one slight change was made with Ashley Cole coming in to replace Carroll. "Ok aaahhh Matt.... I want you with ahhh Wayne... Up front, Leighton will go ehhhh go left midfield and Cole shall errr go left.. Back! Ok?" Matt nodded in agreement at the managers broken English before they headed back out onto the rain soaked pitch, the weather ceaseing to ease up at all as the game progressed. The second half started much like the first with England in control but there was a high degree of intensity from the home side as they started to move the ball around and create pressure, at times frstrating England into silly mistakes, Pjanic in particular now causing Cole all sorts of problems down the home teams right flank while still struggling to create anything truly clear cut. With roughly an hour gone the game had become slightly stagnent, the game decending into a midfield battle though England still managed to come close to a third, Rooney on the right finding space to cross, Cole of all people getting a strong header to it which Begovic did very well to tip over the bar. That chance began another spell of strong England pressure which eventually yielded a 3rd goal. Gerrard on the right of the midfield played a ball into Matt's feet which next found it's way to Huddlestone who once more guided a first time through pass for Rooney who slipped clear of the offside trap and fired a rocket across Begovic into the top corner to complete his hat trick and all but secure the game. With the game all but secure England continued to batter the home side's defensive line, the champagne football now coming out with flicks and tricks galore. One particularly flowing passing move yielding an opening for Gerrard but once more his effort was wayward but a few minutes later Begovic was left picking the ball out of his net for a fourth time of the night. Rooney's shot was blocked, the loose ball being won by Barry from Mirvic before putting in a teasing through ball, Matt springing forward to get to it, nip round the keeper and place the ball into the empty net to round off the rout. With the players still celebrating Matt's goal Capello gave the call to Downing and Agbonlahor, the former Villa team mates coming in to replace Gerrard and Rooney, the latter getting a standing ovation from both sets of fans as the game entered injury time but with very little time neither managed to make an impact on the game before the referee put an end to the home sides misery. ( )Bos & Herz 0 England 4 (Rooney 37, 45+1 & 76; Warner 89) MoM: Wayne Rooney (England) Att: 24,803
  21. Championship duo land new deals Yesterday the Warner family were celebrating as both Leeds United and Leicester City announced that their two star players had penned new deals with the clubs. Matt Warner shrugged off reported interest from Real Madrid as he put pen to paper on a three year deal reported to be worth around £30,000 a week which will make his loan move from Arsenal perminent when his contract expires while in the his younger brother ended speculation of a possible move to Fulham by signing a five year contract which his home town club Leicester City, his wage believed to be around the £20,000 mark as both sides look to secure their better performers for next season's stint in the Premiership. Both players had led their sides to promotion in the season just gone, the elder Warner helping Leeds to automatic promotion after bagging a superb eleven goals in the final seven games of the season to clinch the title while the younger Warner took the captains armband for Leicester City's recent Championship play off final victory over a heavily favoured Reading side who narrowly missed out on automatic promotion also. Now though, with both penning new deals, it's upto both Leeds and Leicester to put the right players around them with fan's and pundits alike expecting big moves in the transfer market in the summer to come. ________________________________________ A week after the heroic's displayed in the Chapionship play-off final it was the turn of both of Europe's football competitions to take centre stage for their finales. Real Madrid beat Chelsea by a single Cristiano Ronaldo goal meaning Mourinho collected a 3rd Champions League title with three different clubs during his barely 12 year long managerial career. The Europa League also drew to a close with Lyon picking up a 4-2 win over Shakhtar Donetsk at the National Arena in Romania. With the season officially at a close in all of the major leagues in Europe, the summary of who won what looked like this, Continental Fifa World Club Cup: Barcelona Europe Champions League: Real Madrid Europa League: Lyon European Super Cup: Barcelona NextGen Series: Fenerbahce Reserves England Premiership: Manchester United F.A. Cup: Liverpool Carling Cup: Chelsea Community Shield: Manchester United Spain La Liga: Barcelona Copa Del Rey: Athletic Bilboa Supercopa de Espana: Barcelona Germany Bundesliga: Bayer Leverkusen DFB-Pokal: 1860 Munchen DFL-Supercup: Bayer Leverkusen Italy Serie A: Inter Milan TIM Cup: Juventus Supercoppa di lega TIM: Juventus France Ligue 1: Marseille Coupe de France: Marseille Coupe de Ligue: Brest Trophee des Champions: Lyon Holland Eredivisie: Ajax KNVB Beker: FC Utrecht Johan Cruff Schaal: Ajax Portugal Liga SON SAGRES: Porto Taca De Portugal: Vit. Guimaraes BWIN Cup: Sporting CP Supertaca Candido de Oliveira: Vit. Guimaraes Also the groups for the London Olympic's were drawn while Team GB began their search for a manager to lead the team, Group A Australia Costa Rica Great Britain Ivory Coast Group B Ghana Japan Mexico Switzerland Group C Bahrain Belarus Brazil New Zealand Group D Senegal South Korea Spain Uruguay Team GB were given a somewhat straight forward group but if they were to win it they would eventually have to overcome the likes of Brazil, Spain, Mexico and Uruguay though the current holder Argentina. Speculation was rife as applications for the job as coach for the Olympic's began to get accepted with the media pegging Leeds boss Jamie Redknapp as one of the favourites for the job after the stellar job he'd done in the previous season though other's such as Stuart Pearce, Alex Ferguson and even Redknapp's dad, Harry, were all being given strong odd's to lead Team GB into the London Olympic games. Following a few days of recovery from all the excitment of the past few weeks Matt made the trip to link up with the England squad in preperation for the European Championships. The team was still riding on a high after winning all of their last seven games including wins over Holland, Spain and Italy along with the fact that the last time they tasted defeat was nearly two years earlier against Germany in the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup. Capello made them all aware that he would be working with a number of different options in their three warm up games leading into the tournament's opening game which pegged Holland, ranked as the number one team in the world, against England who stood at number two in the world.
  22. The following day it was award time across the nations leagues, various awards dinners and gala's taking place to honor the best and brightest of the season gone by. In the Premier League Pepe Reina was named as goalkeeper of the year while his Liverpool team mate Luis Suarez collected the golden boot for his 24 goals. The Football Writers Association named Wayne Rooney as their player of the year while Gareth Bale was once more given the gong for PFA Player of the Year and Juan Mata was awarded the accolaide of PFA Young Player of the Year. The award for Manager of the Year was picked up by Roy Hodgson after he led West Brom to 8th place in the league, an F.A. Cup Final and European Football for the 2012/13 season. In the Championship, Goal of the Season was given to Keith Fahey for an effort his bagged against Reading in September. Craig Mackail-Smith collected his award for top scorer after netting an impressive 31 goals in forty-one games. Leicester's Gonzalo Fierro was named as npower Championship Player of the Year as he bagged 17 goals and 22 assists in helping Leicester to promotion while Danny Rose picked up the award for Young Player of the Year after an impressive loan spell at Crystal Palace. Jamie Redknapp was named as Manager of the Year for his impressive debut season at the helm of Leeds. For Leeds Robert Snodgrass was named as Supporters Player of the Year while the Championship team of the year looked like this, PFA Championship Team of the Year 2011/12 Formation: 4-4-2 GK: Boaz Myhill (Birmingham City) RB: John Pantsil (Leicester City) LB: Adrian Aldrete (Leiceser City) CB: Sol Bamba (Leicester City) CB: Patrick Kisnorbo (Leeds Utd) CM: Chris Warner (Leicester City) CM: Matt Warner (Leeds Utd) RM: Gonzalo Fierro (Leicester City) LM: Ross McCormack (Leeds Utd) ST: Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton and Hove Albion) ST: Darwin Quintero (Reading) SUBS: GK: Julian Speroni (Crystal Palace) CB: Curtis Davies (Birmingham City) MR: Robert Snodgrass (Leeds Utd) MR: David Bentley (West Ham Utd) ST: Jermaine Beckford (Leicester City) Final npower Championship Table | Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 1st | C | Leeds | | 46 | 28 | 13 | 5 | 108 | 44 | +64 | 97 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 2nd | P | West Ham | | 46 | 28 | 10 | 8 | 89 | 48 | +41 | 94 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 3rd | | Reading | | 46 | 28 | 7 | 11 | 94 | 52 | +42 | 91 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 4th | P | Leicester | | 46 | 26 | 10 | 10 | 93 | 50 | +43 | 88 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 5th | | Burnley | | 46 | 23 | 10 | 13 | 74 | 54 | +20 | 79 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 6th | | Bristol City | | 46 | 21 | 15 | 10 | 73 | 54 | +19 | 78 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 7th | | Brighton | | 46 | 21 | 13 | 12 | 74 | 61 | +13 | 76 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 8th | | Birmingham | | 46 | 21 | 12 | 13 | 58 | 43 | +15 | 75 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 9th | | Millwall | | 46 | 21 | 8 | 17 | 70 | 63 | +7 | 71 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 10th | | Portsmouth | | 46 | 19 | 11 | 16 | 65 | 56 | +9 | 68 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 11th | | Middlesbrough | | 46 | 19 | 9 | 18 | 54 | 57 | -3 | 66 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 12th | | Nottm Forest | | 46 | 16 | 16 | 14 | 56 | 46 | +10 | 64 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 13th | | Blackpool | | 46 | 15 | 15 | 16 | 54 | 60 | -6 | 60 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 14th | | Cardiff | | 46 | 13 | 18 | 15 | 48 | 63 | -15 | 57 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 15th | | Doncaster | | 46 | 15 | 10 | 21 | 54 | 81 | -27 | 55 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 16th | | Hull | | 46 | 14 | 12 | 20 | 58 | 74 | -16 | 54 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 17th | | Barnsley | | 46 | 16 | 5 | 25 | 56 | 69 | -13 | 53 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 18th | | Derby | | 46 | 13 | 14 | 19 | 46 | 63 | -17 | 53 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 19th | | Southampton | | 46 | 12 | 15 | 19 | 51 | 65 | -14 | 51 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 20th | | Ipswich | | 46 | 10 | 13 | 23 | 56 | 73 | -17 | 43 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 21st | | Crystal Palace | | 46 | 10 | 13 | 23 | 39 | 58 | -19 | 43 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 22nd | R | Coventry | | 46 | 11 | 7 | 28 | 53 | 88 | -35 | 40 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 23rd | R | Peterborough | | 46 | 8 | 11 | 27 | 33 | 83 | -50 | 35 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 24th | R | Watford | | 46 | 5 | 11 | 30 | 40 | 91 | -51 | 26 | | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
  23. After a few moments, Matt headed down with the intention of letting Chris celebrate with his son on the pitch. Eventually he made it down through the hectic scenes where the entrance of the tunnel met the technical area's, Chris already there waiting. Matt put Kaiden down, the youngster poddling over to his dad, still in the early stages of walking as Matt stood back and watched. "Well done bro, you deserved it...." He said shaking his hand and giving him a brief hug. "You not coming on? Come on." "Nah man, i doubt the Leeds fans would take kindly to it plus this is your day man, go enjoy it." Chris nodded and turned his attention to his son, Matt slinking back to the entrance to the dug out to watch from afar. The celebrations were on par with what Matt had experienced a couple of weeks earlier after he had won the title with Leeds, though now thought's turned to his dad, Matt now looking to the heavens wondering if somewhere up there he was watching and in someway swinging the game in favour of Leicester. He waited for a while, watching and taking pictures as his brother climbed the famous Wembley steps with Kaiden in tow, fan's handing him scarves and hats along the way. Soon he was at the top of the steps and was the first to receieve his medal. In turn they all got one, each taking a moment to applaud the fan's who were still in full voice and take an admiring look at the shiney new medal they recieved but soon enough it was the moment Chris had been waiting for. With his son in one arm he was given the all clear, taking a look at it before grasping it with his free hand and with all waiting he lifted the trophy with gusto, all the players raising their hands in triumph, cheering as the fan's followed suit. The celebrations went on for a while to come as they took a lap of honor. After a tearful renunion with their mother eventually Matt, Allen, their mother and Kaiden left the stadium along with the hoardes of fan's. Once more barely half an hour had passed before they were all sound asleep, once more leaving Matt with only the powerful V8 for company as once more the miles fell one by one, the sky getting darker with each one that passed.
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